TERRE HAUTE —
Michael Eberle and Parker Fulkerson are both Terre Haute North grads who were key hitters in the middle of the lineup for last summer’s Wayne Newton Post 346 state championship American Legion baseball team.
This spring, both played college baseball out of state, with Eberle in his second year at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson and Fulkerson at Division I Holy Cross on the East Coast.
Now, both are coming back to Terre Haute to continue their college baseball careers, with Eberle joining the Indiana State program and Fulkerson becoming a Rose-Hulman Engineer.
Neither had a highly successful spring this year, with Eberle dislocating his left shoulder on a check swing in the team’s sixth game and Fulkerson not getting many opportunities to display his talents as a D1 freshman.
Both are looking forward to continuing the success they had locally over the next three years.
“I really look forward to playing for Coach [Rick] Heller,” Eberle said. “He is a great guy and a great coach. If I can continue to hit, they will find a spot for me to play. I have settled into third base, but I am able to play a variety of positions and I will play wherever they put me.”
Fulkerson had a change in career paths, and once he decided he wanted to be an engineer the choice of where to go was not difficult.
“Since Holy Cross does not have a 4-year engineering program, Rose-Hulman was the obvious choice,” he said. “On top of getting a fantastic engineering degree, the ability to continue to play baseball at the college level for a great program like Rose-Hulman led me to the decision that RHIT is the best place for me.”
Getting injured is never good, but Eberle’s timing was pretty fortunate in the long run. Since he only played a small portion of the season, he was granted a redshirt year and will have three years to be a Sycamore.
Recent surgery has Eberle confident he will make a full recovery.
“On this check swing, it damaged the labrum and made my shoulder unstable” he said. “I rehabbed for about two months and it did not get better.”
He had surgery on Thursday to repair the labrum and tighten the shoulder joint.
“The surgery went very well and I look forward to a fast recovery,” he said. “I was off to a pretty good start before I got hurt.
“I really enjoyed my experience at Lincoln Trail,” added Eberle, who also considered Miami (Ohio), Murray State and Southeast Missouri State. “There are a lot of quality pitchers in the Greats Rivers Athletic Conference we were in, so I feel like I can make the transition to the D-1 level smoothly.”
LTC Coach Kevin Bowers sees more success in Eberle’s future.
“Last year he was second on the team in hitting, and he had worked his tail off last summer to help his foot speed at third and it showed in the fall,” Bowers said. “We were very pleased with his progress and felt extremely comfortable with him at third.
“He has good bat speed and his barrel lives in the strike zone,” Bowers added. “He can handle high level fastballs and was showing the ability to stay on breaking balls and drive them middle to right center.”
Bowers says baseball skill is not Eberle’s only asset.
“He is an outstanding young man, he is a high character kid, outstanding student, and will be an asset to the Sycamore program for the next 3 years,” he said.
Both players are looking forward to being back in their native territory.
“It will be nice to be around my family and close friends for the rest of my college career, since many of my friends attend schools nearby,” Fulkerson said. “I look forward to playing for Coach Jenkins a great deal. He has built a great program whose recent successes have me excited to contribute in any way I can. Being close to home is great.”
Eberle has another reason to be happy, as he will take the field on the same diamond where his father performed in the mid-1980s.
Mike Eberle, a catcher, was a member of the all-Mideast Regional team as the Sycamores advanced to the 1986 College World Series. He is still prominently mentioned in the schools’ record book in games played (tied for first), career triples (tied for second), career home runs (third), single-game home runs (tied for first with three), career RBI (fifth) and both single-season and career fielding percentage (first).
“I am excited to play for the same school as my dad did,” Michael said. “ISU has a long history of great players and great teams, I just hope I can get a chance to help carry on that tradition.”
I I I
n Braves moving on — Former Terre Haute South volleyball standouts Taylor Hayne and Katie Moon will be continuing their careers at the collegiate level.
Hayne will join NAIA Lindsey Wilson College next fall while Moon will join the Indiana State program.
Hayne is a 5-10 outside hitter who was named to the 2009 and 2010 all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference teams and invited to the Indiana All-Star team tryouts after posting 1,237 kills, 122 blocks, 90 aces and 653 digs in her high-school career.
LW Coach Andy Cavins sees her adding the most to the team on the offensive side of the game.
“Taylor is a very physically strong and aggressive player and will give us much needed fire power to be a successful outside hitter in our offense,” Cavins said. “She comes from proven high school and club programs, so she possesses the intangibles necessary to instill a winning attitude the moment she steps on campus.
“Both of Taylor’s parents were collegiate swimmers, so she is predisposed to dynamic athleticism. Our staff expects Taylor to make an instant and important impact on our squad.”
Hayne loves everything about her new school.
“I picked Lindsey Wilson because I fell in love with the whole volleyball program, and the coach and girls are amazing,” she said. “I am excited to be on a full ride scholarship to play at the collegiate level. I’m also excited for the complete support of the staff and the direction all the sport teams are going.”
Hayne played in 400 varsity games as a four-year starter, and owns the THS career kills record with 1,273. She also accumulated 90 aces, 122 blocks, 653 digs and had a 29 percent kill percentage.
“My high school career flew by, and I loved everything about it,” she said. “Winning sectionals for three years and not ever losing to North makes my memories that much better.”
Hayne even had the rare opportunity during her senior year to play for a coach from the same family tree, her older sister Madison Minnick.
“We always got along and never argued about anything,” she said. “It couldn’t have been any better. She is a great coach, but first she is a great sister.”
Minnick was a standout player at Oakland City, and sister Casey had success at Lake Land and Oakland City until shoulder surgery this summer will end her career one year early.
Minnick expects Taylor to contribute immediately at Lindsey Wilson.
“I expect her to have the chance to earn playing time right off the bat at outside hitter,” she said. “She is a physically and mentally tough player, and she is ready to take her game to the next level. Lindsey Wilson is the perfect place for that.
Moon was a two-year varsity letter winner, playing in 180 varsity games and recording 109 aces (including tying the record for single-game aces). She also had 322 digs and 36 kills and received the team’s Serve Reception Award for the highest passing percentage for the 2010 season.
“Katie will be a defensive specialist at ISU,” Minnick said. “I am happy for Katie to have the opportunity to play collegiate volleyball locally at ISU.”
Moon is looking forward to being a Sycamore.
“I’m really excited to be given the opportunity to take my volleyball game to the next level,” she said. “ISU has a great coach [Traci Dahl], and I can’t wait to see the improvements in my game after we start practices. I can’t wait to start practicing with the team. I have a feeling we are going to have a great season.”
n Vicars paces Alcorn to NCAA — Terre Haute South grad Cole Vicars will conclude his college baseball career this spring by participating in the NCAA Tournament after helping Alcorn State to win the Southwest Athletic Conference championship earlier this month.
Vicars pitched a complete game shutout in a 13-0 win over Texas Southern in the SWAC tournament semifinals, improving his record to 5-3. He gave up seven hits, walking two and striking out three.
Alcorn won the championship game 12-6 over Southern, as Vicars scored in a key fourth-inning rally, drove home a run with a ninth-inning single and caught a line drive for the last out of the game at second base.
Alcorn’s first-round regional opponent has not yet been determined.
n Phillips named All-Region — Northview freshman Emily Phillips of Olney Central College was named to the All-Region 24 softball team after a breakthrough freshman season.
Phillips hit .367 (55-for-150) for the Lady Blue Knights with four homers, 10 doubles, two triples and 43 RBI. She scored 36 runs and was 15-of-17 in the stolen-base department.
“Emily played really well and I expect bigger and better things from her next year,” Coach Nick Short said. “She had a productive freshman season, and we need her to step up and be a sophomore leader next year. Hopefully, she works hard in the offseason to improve.”
n Dayton gets honor — Johnnie Dayton, a graduate of Paris High School, was presented with the Paul I. Brandenburg Award earlier this month for an outstanding sophomore baseball season at Lake Land College.
The Brandenburg Award is award annually to the most outstanding athlete in baseball, based not only on athletic skill, but also scholarship and outstanding moral character.
The award is named for one of Lake Land College’s greatest and most recognized sports fans in the school’s history.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at tribstarcollegere